The opening of a new, major road in Hastings, Te Ara Kahikatea or the Whakatu Arterial Link, is leading to an increase in heavy traffic along Napier Rd, one of the main routes connecting Havelock North with Clive, Whakatu, and Napier. It is a popular road for long-distance cyclists and confident commuters. The current provision for cyclists on the road is a shoulder which is variable, and at some points very narrow. As a result, Hastings District Council has had to devise a new plan to keep cyclists safe.
A new cycleway along Napier Rd in Hastings has been given the go-ahead by Hastings District Council.
The council voted to proceed with the new cycleway at a meeting on Thursday.
For the majority of Napier Rd, there will be a 1.5m-wide cycleway with a 1m-wide buffer on either side of the road.
A section between Romanes Drive and Thompson Rd will be a two-way path on the east side of the road.
The estimated cost is $1,866,000, of which Hastings District Council will fund $859,000.
The project may also be eligible for a NZTA targeted enhanced funding assistance which could reduce the council's cost to $430,000.
Some concerns were raised at the meeting by councillor Kevin Watkins about the purpose of the cycleway. He said another option could be used by a broader section of the public.
"Is our mindset that what we are proposing here is solely for cyclists," Watkins asked strategic transport engineer Eynon Phillips.
Hawke's Bay will be warm with slight drizzle this week
"This particular route is predominantly focused on those cyclists, it is a 5km-long straight, on a piece of fairly heavy vehicle traffic road," Phillips said.
"The primary user target for this particular stretch of the road is cyclists.
"Other sections of our iWays will be more focused on recreational users and particularly family users."
Watkins said he did not think the cycleway was broad enough to encompass what iWays was about.
"We say if we develop something, people will use it. We say if we develop this for cyclists, people will get on their cycles and use it.
"If we develop a safe walkway for pedestrians and people taking their dogs and every other thing, they will use it.
"My concern is we are looking at committing nearly $860,000 of HDC money into infrastructure that is restricted in its use."
Phillips said even if a joint walkway and cycleway was built in the area it was unlikely to be used by pedestrians, because of the location.
The need for added cyclist safety arose after the completion of Te Ara Kahikatea (the Whakatu Arterial Link), which has led to an expected increase in heavy vehicle traffic using Napier Rd.
Currently the only provisions for cyclists along Napier Rd is a sealed shoulder, of variable width.